November 23, 1998 Monday
I get behind on a lot of things that I do. This journal is no exception. Throughout this fall semester–and really, since The Tempest Wind–I have not kept up with it. Hopefully, while now on Thanksgiving break I can catch up on a mountain of notes that make up the last few months. At present I don’t how I want to present this work. One one hand I want to just record just the major events so they aren’t forgotten, but on the other I want to have a fluid story line like what I used to have. I the Living–the fourteenth volume of this ever-bloated book–will get back to my glory days of writing.
This must seem like a broken record: I am again back in good ol’ E-town hoping against hope to fill the hours and days in front of me. I had wanted to get a group of us (the old class) to go to Peoria and eat somewhere, but that probably won’t happen until Christmas break. People like Colin and the whole crew from Illinois State won’t come home until Wednesday, which doesn’t leave a lot of time.
I like sitting here in front of my old MacIntosh LC II, typing these pages the old days. It makes me feel young again. Everything is pretty much arranged around the room just as it always has been. There is even some familiar cologne fragrance in the air. I find it very easy to write now. But this needs to be put on hold. I have to go rake the leaves for Dad before it gets dark.
Okay, now that that’s done, let’s continue. Friday Mom came to get me, and I was the last off the floor, as usual. Tom had promised to call and possibly go with me to Illinois State Saturday night, and had left Lincoln Hall earlier in the afternoon. Collinsville took off even before that, going town to C-town via Springfield because Amdor needed a ride home. I’m sure that Katie Looker, who always drives in front of Collinsville so he can find his way home was thrilled about that. Anyway, Mom arrived in front of Lincoln around 5:30. An hour and fifteen minutes later I was entering the western city limits of Elmwood. Mom wanted to stop off at Jim’s IGA for some groceries. I pulled into the lot and parked. It was only after getting out that I noticed the car parked to us was a green Audi. I didn’t see anyone inside the store. What a way to be received back.
Nicole was thrilled her older brother was home, and hugged me as soon as I came in the side door. Dad was equally glad to see me, and his etched face gave me a warm smile. The two of them were in the middle of watching old tapes of me when I was in first grade. You know, I was a pretty cute kid. Then everyone listened to me read the article I wrote to the Western Courier about President Spencer. I don’t think Mom and Dad entirely approved. Later I went up to rent JFK to warch for my final Kennedy project for English 280.
Saturday I continued to wait for a call from Tom, but it never came. That isn’t like him, and I hope he got back to Quincy okay. I was well aware of what day it was, November 22nd, because our English 280 class had fixated on that event the entire semester. I made some spaghetti for Nicole and I for lunch, and at 12:30 I told her exactly what happened thirty-five years ago. Nicole hates any kind of violence, doesn’t understand it, and is frankly very afraid of it. She couldn’t understand why someone would want to kill a man, let alone a president. I agreed with her.
That night I went to see Pleasentville, in Elmwood’s own Palace Theater, which must count for some kind of irony. It was a pretty good movie; even though it could be funny, I hadn’t expected the added commentary of the colorized, or “color” people being treated poorly and incorporated into a timely, larger message.
Sunday I went to church at the First Presbyterian, and it was great to be back in such familiar surroundings, even if Pastor Jerry is no longer there. Like when we were trying to fill the spot after Pastor Hoekstra before Pastor Jerry, right now they are having a lot of guest speakers. This week’s was the new principal of the high school. I saw Stacy Tamms in the overflow room, and talked to her outside the service. I guess she had seen my earring, and said it made me look a “bad boy.” I guess Stacy is just one of those girls, and we have had a flirtatious relationship with her for a long time. I don’t remember the first of it all, but I was a sophomore working the Pepsi wagon with Hoke during the Fall Festival when this little seventh-grader came up to the window and talked to me all night. It is one of those innocent things that I guess happens around that age, like sometimes with some of Mom’s students. Then there was the day before the Homecoming game, when she asked me to drive her home to her farm. That actually really surprised me, but I said sure. We just watched some Oprah for a bit before I had to pick up Ainsley in Princeville. Now it’s just fun to very rarely continue a friendly game.
I had hoped to get some more information on the Warren Report today at the high school library, but didn’t get there. I would go the Elmwood Library, but I doubt if any books they have even has Kennedy being a president yet.
Tonight Nicole helped me with Fur Else on the piano, which I am picking up surprisingly fast. Last night she and I played a quick game, and she desperately wants to spend some time with me while home, and while playing the piano she can show her talent.